NCAA bound: No. 2 seed VUU Lady Panthers take on Edinboro Friday

Fred Jeter | 3/15/2019, 6 a.m.
The Virginia Union University Lady Panthers basketball team was hopeful it would be playing on campus this weekend at Barco-Stevens ...

The Virginia Union University Lady Panthers basketball team was hopeful it would be playing on campus this weekend at Barco-Stevens Hall.

Instead, the Lady Panthers are packing for a  325-mile trip to mountainous Glenville, W.Va., for the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional playoffs.

The CIAA women’s champions are seeded No. 2 in the NCAA regionals and will face No. 7 seed Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in the quarterfinals at 2:30 p.m. Friday, March 15. Host Glenville State College, the No. 1 seed, will play West Liberty University of West Virginia in he first round.

“We put in a bid” to host the regionals, said VUU Athletic Director Joe Taylor. “The (NCAA) committee has the last word and Glenville won out.”

Also playing in the Atlantic Regional is CIAA-affiliate Bowie State University of Maryland, seeded No. 6. The Bulldogs will face No. 3 Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the quarterfinals.

The semifinal games will be on Saturday, March 16. The regional championship game will be Monday, March 18, with the winner advancing to the Elite Eight in Columbus, Ohio.

VUU has hosted the regionals twice in the past and felt it was positioned to play at home again. The deflating news came late Sunday night, when the NCAA announced pairings and game sites.

VUU was ranked No. 1 in the Atlantic Region in the most recent poll released March 4, with Glenville State College ranked second. Since then, the VUU Lady Panthers have not played, while Glenville came on strong to win the Mountain East Conference Tournament.

That convinced the NCAA Tournament Committee to award Glenville the home floor advantage. The regional tournament will be played in Glenville State College’s 3,000-seat Waco Center that opened in 2014.

Life goes on for the Lady Panthers, albeit at high altitude and perhaps with the sound of banjo music in the background.

VUU is hopeful Shareka McNeill will find the nets in West Virginia as inviting as they were in North Carolina for the CIAA Tournament.

McNeill was named National Player of the Week for March 7 after scoring a record 134 points in three CIAA games in Charlotte, N.C.

The 5-foot-6 guard averages 25.3 points, while hitting 101 3-pointers. McNeill was CIAA Player of the Year and also the MVP of the CIAA Tournament.

Edinboro University hopes to counter with 5-foot-5 guard Michaela Barnes, who is averaging 22 points.

It’s a rematch of sorts. VUU defeated Edinboro 79-58 on Nov. 10 in Richmond. VUU would not face host Glenville until the final.